As he pursued his career, Allen declares that his choices were frequently influenced by Rotary’s Four-Way Test, an ethical standard he was exposed to when he attended Rotary Youth Leadership Academy during high school.
Allen studied architecture at Kansas State University, graduating in 2005. Then he spent time in Honduras working and volunteering for Rotary projects there. Realizing he needed a graduate degree in order to teach, he attended Columbia University in New York to earn a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design.
Allen’s resume includes civil service work with the New York City Department of Design and Construction where he served as a Design Project Manager for homeless shelters throughout the city.
Allen also worked in Washington DC in the Office of Planning to foster “creative placemaking.” That initiative sought to add value to public space while bringing community members together. One example was converting parking spaces into pop-up stores or “shoplets.” The process allowed small business owners to test their product concept in a market before investing significant time and money.
Allen says he is pleased to see Lawrence Central Rotary’s support for completing the Lawrence Loop. He sees the Loop to be another example of bringing community together via infrastructure. Allen observes that Rotary often plays a role as an intermediary between public and private initiatives such as the Loop.